On the day where the big news should be a staggering group of pitchers (Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz) and a sneaky-great infielder (Craig Biggio) entering the Hall of Fame, the Reds dealing Johnny Cueto to the Royals, right after Cueto knocked down health concerns with eight shutout innings against the Rockies in a park that normally vaporises pitching, threatens to equal it.
God knows (as does His servant Casey Stengel) that I had better things to write about on the day after Opening Days. Things like Nationals’ shortstop Ian Desmond calling second baseman Dan Uggla (yes, Virginia, that Dan Uggla) off a by-the-book popup, dropping the ball, allowing the Mets first and second, leading to Lucas Duda busting up Max Scherzer’s no-hit bid with the two run single that made the difference in the Mets’ win.
Ryne Sandberg laboured long and hard to earn a shot at major league managing. He’d wanted it with the Chicago Cubs, for whom he’d been a Hall of Fame second baseman, and he’d gone deep into the Cubs’ system for his chance only to be snubbed—despite several seasons’ success, a reputation as a teaching manager, and a parallel reputation as a no-nonsense competitor—for a guy who didn’t last much more than a full season.
Afforded the chance to do so by WEEI’s Rob Bradford, who seems one of the less cannibalistic among sports radio heads, Josh Beckett had a few more things to say about the end of his Boston tour. A few perhaps inadvertent misstatements to the contrary, since Beckett wasn’t always forthcoming with reporters after his losses this season, the righthander didn’t exactly come across as a mere fuming brat. MassLive.com’s Ben Shapiro caught the point almost at once:
. . . the Phillies’ manager is the diametric opposite of Bobby Valentine when it comes to handling his players if they should make a mistake or talk to him privately.
Apparently, Manuel was less than thrilled when shortstop Jimmy Rollins, a veteran who knows better by far, jogged it up the first base line on a by-the-book ground ball to shortstop Wednesday against Miami. The manager and his shortstop sat down behind closed doors afterward.
There’s a snag in the possible movement of Philadelphia’s Joe Blanton to the Baltimore Orioles—and it has nothing to do with anything the Orioles found in Blanton’s medical records, for which they asked to review Monday. The Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connolly says the snag is money:
The Orioles are deep into negotiations with the Philadelphia Phillies about acquiring right-hander Joe Blanton, but the amount of money the Orioles would have to pick up could be a sticking point in reaching an agreement before Tuesday’s 4 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline.
With the second-best regular-season record in baseball, the New York Yankees couldn’t out-hit their pitching issues while the Detroit Tigers figured out ways to hang in against both the Empire Emeritus‘s batting holes and pitching inconsistencies. With the best regular season in baseball, the Philadelphia Phillies couldn’t out-pitch their hitting issues, while the tenacious St. Louis Cardinals—who weren’t even supposed to be in the postseason picture, you may remember—figured out ways to make the ballyhooed Four Aces resemble the Four Lads.